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Friday, 30 October 2009

Hardcourt Highlights of 1971



Long trek
Through the lost night
In Randy's van
To the Novato High gymnasium

Psyched for the big matchup
With the Wise Streetboys
Of Marin City

I'm bringing the ball upcourt
Like an educated yo-yo

Feeling this rush of power
I shift into overdrive
And dribble the ball
Off my cheapsneakered foot

It spins away wildly to starboard
Where a skinny guy with cornrows
Plucks it out of the air
With sublime nonchalance
And in one motion
Fires it full court
To the sprinting quick releaser
Who glides in for an easy two points

And we succumb 85-47

Well somebody had to lose
And we palefaces always knew
It was going to be us

Later the showers are cold
And you have to walk a long way
Over cold asphalt
To get to them

And then the long ride home
Under speechless starlight
Through the black January night
On the floor of the defeated bus

Early morning view of Novato, Ca. from Big Rock Ridge Trail: photo by Sophisticatedcat, 2008


Anonymous said...

You are very good at this thing with words and how you conjure up images in the reader's mind. So they can believe they are there with you, in that place.I love your humour too Thomas and how such is often woven through your words.

~otto~ said...

I miss shooting hoops, too

TC said...


Many thanks and you do the same conjuring trick for me, you.

Seeing the humour in the situation (certain situations) always takes a bit of time. Sometimes ten seconds or ten minutes is insufficient. I find that forty years does wonderfully, however.

(Tying to dream up the beneficial aspects of ageing is a common pastime of the aged, but at least, once you come upon such an imagined benefit, you can count on forgetting it almost immediately... so that later it can occur to you again, as if for the first time... erm, what was that we were talking about?)

TC said...


Even when I was shooting hoops every day there was quite a bit of missing.

But I know what you mean.

I played schoolyard and gym rat games every day till near the ridiculous age of forty, when mother nature taught me not to so embarrass myself further, by conspiring, along with the manufacturers of Keds, to arrange for a dislocated metatarsal one day... my last "serious" day on the courts.

I still enjoy, now and then, watching urban pickup games, in each of which is writ a little of the weird social history of what is left of America. Conflict resolution situations are always interesting, particularly when territorial issues are factored in. A couple of years ago I saw a couple of dudes face off over a foul call, nothing much was said but signs were given, cellphones were summoned.

Not long later one of the dudes was dead and not long after that two others (who'd evidently overlooked the fact that cell calls are traceable) were doing the time for it. It may have been no foul, but harm, it seems, sometimes has a plan of its own.

TC said...

Speaking of fouls, "Tying to dream up" sounds as though it might be a pretty interesting thing to do (like maybe also, "dreaming to tie up..."), but in fact, even geriatric post stroke brain damage multiplied by sleep deprivation cannot excuse total idiocy: "Trying to dream up..." is what the geezer meant to say, in the parenthesis two comments up.